Undrivable secret UK motorway that’s 400m and the scene of ‘horror crashes’

Motorways are usually the busy spines of the UK, great tarmac arteries that link the country together and keep it moving, except for one particular stretch of motorway in the Cotswolds, the M96.

It is just 400 metres long and looks pretty much exactly like any other motorway – except it is the scene of countless major emergency service operations.

Complete with a 70mph speed limit, three lanes both northbound and southbound, an overhead sign gantry and even a phone on the hard shoulder, at a glance you could be forgiven for thinking this was exactly the same as any old carriageway.

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Except for this stretch of road at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire is unlike any other ‘M’ road in the country.

First reported on by GlouscestershireLive, the road was built on an old airfield that was no longer in use with one very specific job in mind – to provide somewhere for the emergency services to train.

The aim of the facility is to allow responders to practice in life-sized scenarios they are likely to find out in the real world where any number of road traffic collisions could happen.

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The M96 is often littered with damaged cars that have been used in previous practices, with multi-vehicle pile-ups having been staged there so responders know exactly what to do in even the most hideous situations.

Tractors, lorries, vans and buses have all also been used in the simulations.

It is a part of the Fire Service College, which says: "The M96 facility is regularly used to train helicopter emergency personnel and newly qualified paramedics, as well as fire and rescue service personnel in multi-agency exercises.

"The motorway has the capacity to run several incidents at one time. It can be used by any agency that works in the road industry and would like to train in a safe realistic way.

"Due to its size, as well as the fact that it is a life size replica of the real thing, emergency service responders can work together or ‘interoperably’ in a safe environment to resolve multi-agency incident without putting themselves at unnecessary risk and without causing any disruption to major road routes."


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